Egypt says Hamas to respond to truce proposals on Saturday

Hamas delegation will return to Cairo on Saturday to give a final response to proposals to reach an 18-month truce with Israel, Egypt Media claimed.

Egypt says Hamas to respond to truce proposals on Saturday

A delegation from the Palestinian Hamas will return to Cairo on Saturday to give a final response to proposals to reach an 18-month truce with Israel, Egypt's state-run media reported on Thursday.

Talks between Egyptian intelligence officials and a Hamas delegation ended on Wednesday without a deal. Hamas said Israeli proposals for an agreement, carried through Egypt, were vague.

An unidentified Egyptian official told the Middle East News Agency Hamas delegates "will come back to Cairo on Saturday to inform the Egyptian officials of the final response".

Hamas and Israel declared separate ceasefires on Jan. 18 but acts of Israeli air attacks and Palestinian responses have continued.

Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive in Gaza, killing more than 1300 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded at least 5300.

Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and government buildings and destroyed infrastructure system in Gaza, lefting Palestinians without electricity, gas and power.

Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to reopen all Gaza's border crossings so that people and goods can move freely. Gaza has been under heavy blockade for most of the time since Hamas took power there in June 2007.

Gazans live under heavy Israel siege for a long time and Egypt still insists on not to opening the only Gaza border crossing in a move condemned by Muslims around the world in protests, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives.

Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil said the Jewish state wants to reopen the crossings at a capacity of 80 percent after the truce, and delay the rest until it reaches a deal to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

"We want to understand ... what are the materials that Israel wants to ban because they are used to make rockets? or will this be subject to the whim of Israel?" he said.

Ayman Taha, another member of the Hamas delegation to Cairo, said the group now has no objection to an 18-month truce. Hamas has previously said it wanted a year-long truce but was prepared to discuss halting hostilities for 18 months.

Reuters
Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2009, 14:45
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